Mini Calzone Recipe (Easy, Kid-Friendly Lunch Idea)

Mini Calzones Recipe: Easy, Portable Back to School Lunch idea (and freezer friendly!)

Mini Calzones Recipe

Have you ever come up with an idea so simple, it’s just genius? I don’t mean to gloat – but that’s basically what you’re about to encounter here with today’s recipe. Not only are these calzones simple and inexpensive to make – they are portable, freezer-friendly, and kid-friendly. In other words, they are perfect to tuck into your kid’s lunch this fall.

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One of my kids’ favorite meals is pizza. However, pizza isn’t always so easy to make and pack for school lunches. I researched many recipes for pizza rolls and pizza pockets, but many of them involved making dough from scratch or many ingredients, so I decided to strike out on my own with today’s recipe. I wanted to create something that was delicious, portable, but that wouldn’t require a huge time/energy commitment on your part, either. The good news is this recipe ticks all those boxes.

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How to Make Spaghetti Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes (Freezer Friendly Recipe)

Wondering how to make spaghetti sauce? This easy spaghetti sauce recipe breaks it down for you step by step, including a freezer-friendly storage solution!

This is the year of the lazy garden. The year I only half-way planted, half-way weeded, and hardly ever watered. While a number of things didn’t grow (as was to be expected!), there were a number of delightful surprises.

15 Pounds of Garden Tomatoes

I easily filled two big pans’ worth of tomatoes after just 10-15 minutes of picking from my two bushes. This year, I grew one Roma and one beefsteak variety. Now, what to do with them?

In the past, I have canned garden tomatoes, but truth be told, it was just too easy for me to forget about/not use them. I’ve also simply frozen tomato puree. But there again, I didn’t really end up using that either. This year I decided to consider, “What do we actually eat with tomatoes?” Waste not, want not, right?

And what I came up with: spaghetti sauce. After all, I buy and use it regularly. So I decided to turn my 15 pounds of garden tomatoes into sauce. I’d like to share with you the steps I took to make my sauce in case you’re looking to do something similar. I modified this spaghetti sauce recipe I found at Food.com. Of course, you can modify the flavors to suit your tastes, or the amount of tomatoes you happen to have as I did!

Don’t have a garden? You can often find great deals on boxes of tomatoes at the farm stands or farmer’s market this time of year, so don’t count yourself out.

Easy Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Fresh Garden Tomatoes

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Simple Homemade Mac’n Cheese

Simple Homemade Mac'n Cheese: Never buy the boxed stuff again!

One of my daughter’s very favorite (and most requested!) meals is macaroni and cheese. And yes, while I’ve purchased boxed varieties over the years, I’ve wondered if I couldn’t develop my own homemade version using whole ingredients that I control. After several months of tinkering and experimenting, I’m happy to say her favorite macaroni and cheese is now my recipe, not one from a box!

Not only is today’s recipe delicious – it’s very quick and easy to prepare and chances are, you have most (if not all) of the ingredients right now!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6-8 oz dry pasta (I am using elbow macaroni today, but we’ve also used rotini, shells, and other shapes)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar for a nice cheese flavor)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 2 tbsp melted butter (optional)

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Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe

Who remembers the Good Humor strawberry shortcake ice cream bars from your childhood? You know, these ones…

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Very seldom did we get to buy ice cream off the ice cream truck, but when we did, this was always my “go-to” ice cream.  Something about those strawberry/vanilla crunch balls was just sooooo yummy in my tummy. A few summers ago I introduced this ice cream bar to my kiddos….as expected, they loved it just as much as I did at their age.

The other day I had this giant flat of strawberries from Costco. As I was slicing them up, this ice cream popped in my head and I remembered a recipe from years ago that used a strawberry/vanilla crumble top. I decided it was time to play around with what I had to see what I could come up with. Let’s just say my finished product was a HUGE hit and one I’m sure you will love as well!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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How to Make Make-Ahead Freezer Smoothies

My son loves those Jamba Juice and Yoplait frozen smoothie mixes you can buy in the frozen section. However, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a screaming deal for those, so I decided, “hey – why not make my own?”

I once saw a great tip for prepping freezer smoothies in a magazine using ice cube trays to freeze yogurt! I decided to put my own spin on this idea.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Yogurt (I used a 32 tub to save on cost)
  • Frozen or Fresh Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Freezer Bags
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Orange Juice, Milk, or Non-Dairy Milk

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How to Make Skittles Infused Vodka

How to Make Skittles Infused Vodka | The Coupon Project
How to Make Skittles Infused Vodka | The Coupon Project

Flavored vodkas are very popular right now, but did you know it’s also very simple to make your own? If you buy a large bottle of vodka and make your own, this can be a cost savings over buying individual flavors.

I’ve previously shared how to make Blackberry Infused Vodka and Coffee Liqueur, and today I have a fun idea to add to the mix (all puns intended) – Skittles Infused Vodka! I made these over the weekend for our Super Bowl party and they were a big hit! These would also be a creative way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

I’d like to give a nice shout out to Mix That Drink for today’s inspiration. Make sure to check out their site for additional fun drink ideas!

Skilttles Infused Vodka Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb bag of Skittles – any flavor OR 8 individual-sized Skittles bags
  • 1 1.75-liter vodka (I chose a cheap $10 bottle)
  • one flask with lid per color (mason jars should work well, too!)
  • small funnel
  • small containers, for sorting
  • a bit of patience!
Glass Bottles with Stopper

Now, I decided to go with some special bottles for my project, but as noted above, I imagine pint-sized mason jars would work just fine for this project if you already have some on hand. You will need a good fitting lid.

The ones I decided to use were these glass bottles with stoppers from World Market for $5.99 each. The beauty of these is you can reuse them again and again for other projects. I found them at my Tacoma store, but they are also available online for the same price.

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First, you’re going to want to sort your Skittles by color. This will give each vodka its own unique flavor and prevent a brown-colored infusion! Now, the original Skittles come in red, orange, yellow, green, and purple, but I really wanted a blue color as well, so I purchased a Wild Berry bag in addition to the original flavor to get the blue. Heads up if you want blue!

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Making Cafe Du Monde Style Beignets at Home

One of our family’s great goals is to visit all 50 states and capitals! As of this post, we are at 20 (that’s 40%!) and we hope to bring that number to 25 this year. The most wonderful part of this entire experience for me has been getting to see so much of our country – places that I am not sure I would’ve made it to otherwise.

Among the most memorable was our stop through New Orleans several years ago.

And of course, we had to stop at the iconic Café Du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee!

Ever since, my daughter has been begging for beignets. In fact, she’s hoping to serve them for her birthday later this spring. However, these tasty French doughnuts aren’t so easy to come by here in Western Washington. In fact, I reached out to a couple doughnut shops including one self-proclaimed French pastry shop, and came up empty! So I decided to see what I could do to make our own from home.

My first thought was to look up some recipes. But many of them looked more complicated or time consuming (rising yeast? I ain’t got time for that!), so I hit up Amazon and guess what I found? Yup! They sell Café du Monde beignet mix! I ended up buying a set that also contained a canister of their coffee for just under $15. While today’s post isn’t per se a recipe, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the mix and what’s involved to make your own beignets at home! 

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Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Recipe

Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Recipe I’ve been having fun making my own seasoning blends and saving money in the process! Yesterday I shared an easy and cost-effective recipe for homemade taco seasoning (so go back and check that out, if you …

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25 Healthy Game Day Snack Recipes

Superbowl Recipes | The Coupon Project

25 Healthy Super Bowl Party Recipes Did you know that Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest food consumption day of the year (right after Thanksgiving?). This can be bad news for those of us looking to stick to a New …

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Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bisque Recipe

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bisque Recipe

Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season. I love everything about it – the color of the leaves, the scent of a hot apple crisp, the crispness of the weather. And, not to be forgotten, I love all things pumpkin!

Now I have made pumpkin cakes and pumpkin pies, but I decided this fall to try something a little different and create a pumpkin bisque.

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Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe

Several months ago, I discovered a delicious item at Trader Joe’s: spatchcocked chicken! This is a whole chicken that’s been butterflied and then marinated with lemons, olive oil, and fresh herbs. What I love about it: well, it’s super flavorful, but it also cooks much faster than just putting a whole chicken into the oven.

I decided to try my hand at making my own version of this dish. Turns out, it’s pretty simple and requires only a few ingredients. Even better, we typically find whole fryers on sale (particularly this time of year), making it a frugal menu option.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • one whole chicken
  • 2-3 whole lemons
  • sprig of fresh tarragon*
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • fresh sea salt & fresh ground pepper

*If you can’t find fresh tarragon, you could either use 1 teaspoon of dried. Another option would be a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Start by preheating your oven to 450°. Then, wash and pat dry your whole fryer. Then, lay it breast side down on a cutting surface.

Using kitchen shears, cut along the backbone.

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Instant Pot Cheeseburger Soup Recipe

Looking for a delicious, but easy recipe you can make in your Instant Pot this week? Try this hamburger soup! I purchased an Instant Pot myself a couple years ago (you might want to read more about my experiences with the Instant Pot if you’re on the fence!). If you don’t have one, Amazon has been the best source of Instant Pot deals in my experience, and there are many models to choose from.

Not only is it delicious and hearty – chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into cubes
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
  • (2) 10.5 oz cans of cheese soup
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 1/2 C. half & half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

And…

Don’t forget the Instant Pot!

Place the ground beef, garlic and diced onion in the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté function.

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Easy Egg Bites Recipe {Freezer-Friendly; Batch-Friendly!}

This easy egg bites recipe comes together in a flash! Once they're made, they can be enjoyed right away or popped in the freezer for later.

I swear that I always get the best ideas when I’m out running. Maybe it’s the blood flow finally hitting the brain or the chance to get away from other distractions and just think. Whatever the case, the inspiration for today’s recipe came while I was out running the other day.

I’ve been seeing these ads from Starbucks about sous vide egg bites and I really dig the idea of nourishing, portable breakfast ideas. I tend to just be a cereal or oatmeal kind of gal, but there are times when you want something a bit more hearty to “stick to your ribs!” Today’s Egg Bites Recipe fits the ticket.

Not only are these egg bites delicious to make – they are easy. Even better, they are budget-friendly (but what else would you expect from a frugal living blog)? This recipe is also extremely versatile. Change up the protein, cheese, or veggies to suit what you have in your pantry, your tastes, or whatever diet you’re on.

Here’s what you’ll need to make 12 egg bites: 

  • 9 large eggs
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons half and half or milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Start by heating your oven to 350°.

In a pan, fry up that bacon to desired crispness. I like mine fairly crisp, so that means an extra minute or two. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon onto paper towels. I decided to fry up my veggies in some of the bacon grease (yum!), so I left some of that in the pan, ready to go!

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Lemon Bread with Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling

Recently, my son asked me, “don’t you think lemon would go really well with raspberry?” I instantly agreed and decided to come up with a delicious recipe that would combine those two flavors. After some contemplation and a bit of searching (thanks to Taste of Home’s lemon bread for inspiration!), I arrived at today’s recipe. It’s a lemon bread with a raspberry cream cheese filling. And I say “bread” loosely. This treat could definitely be served as you would a cake or dessert!

Here’s what you’ll need. I know this might seem like a lot of ingredients, but I promise, this recipe isn’t tricky!

For the lemon bread

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or as needed)
  • 1 cup sugar

For the filling

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the glaze 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Dry Ingredients for Lemon Bread

Start by mixing the dry ingredients for your bread – the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

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Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits {a Seriously Good Freezer Meals Recipe}

Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits Recipe

Recently, I shared that my friend Karrie Truman of Happy Money Saver published her first cookbook, Seriously Good Freezer Meals (available now on Amazon)! I am so excited for Karrie and couldn’t wait to get my hands on her cookbook. So you can imagine my excitement when she asked if I’d be interested to participate on her blog tour! Of course I would! As part of the tour, I’m going to highlight a few of the recipes you can find in her book.

Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kit Ingredients

I knew after looking at the list of recipes that I needed to try Karrie’s Blueberry Orange Smoothie kits. Here’s why: I have a son who’s a total smoothie fiend! This kid could have a couple smoothies a day. Recently, I was at our favorite smoothie shop when I noticed they dumped flavored syrup right into the blender! I was disappointed, because this entire time I thought we were getting smoothies made with real fruit. After that visit, I decided it was best just to make ours from scratch at home where we can control the ingredients. 

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Twice Baked Potato Recipe

Today I’m sharing a recipe that I used to make much more often, but had forgotten about! I was reminded of it the other day as I sat contemplating a bag of potatoes I had sitting on the shelf. I’d already used a few of them for a recipe, but what to do with the others? And then it came to me: twice-baked potatoes! 

This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and is incredibly frugal (I mean, you can buy a bag of potatoes for maybe a couple bucks, right?). And there’s no reason these potatoes have to be a side dish – they are hearty enough to be the main attraction. Just throw together a salad or slice up some fresh veggies. But I also think this recipe is perfect for the Big Game. I mean – hello? – potatoes are basically football shaped!

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 small-medium sized potatoes (about 2 pounds worth)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2-1 cup milk, hot
  • 4-5 pieces of bacon, chopped (optional – but this is really not optional!)
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese

The final word before we get started: as the name implies, this recipe is going to take a bit of time to assemble. (You’re baking these babies twice, after all!) Save this one for an evening you’ve got a bit of extra time on your hands, or the weekend.

Start by baking your potatoes. Now there are a number of ways you could do this from the Instant-Pot to the microwave, but for today’s recipe, I’m making good old fashioned baked potatoes! I preheated the oven to 375°. Next, make sure to wash and scrub your potatoes well. A vegetable scrubber or dishtowel is good to loosen the dirt. Pierce each potato 2-3 times with a knife.

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Easy Chicken Piccata Recipe


Sometimes I struggle with what to do with chicken. I often gravitate to a handful of recipes – and there’s nothing more boring than plain ol’ baked chicken. If you’ve been in a chicken rut, I have an amazingly easy and flavorful recipe for you to add into your rotation this week: Chicken Piccata! While this recipe may sound fancy, I can assure you that it’s very easy – and that you likely have most of the ingredients you need to make it in your pantry right now! This recipe, made on a whim, has become one of my family’s most-loved recipes. It’s full of flavor, quick, and easy – what more could you ask?

Today’s recipe is inspired by this recipe at AllRecipes.com.

Ingredients:

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